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UMD-Summer: Brazil: Conservation and Indigenous Peoples - Ethnographic Methods (ANTH/CPSP/LASC)

Aukre, Brazil
Maraba, Brazil
Tucumã, Brazil
Terms offered: 
Program Type: 
Minimum GPA: 
Non-UMD Students Eligible to Apply: 
Graduate Students Eligible to Apply: 
Language of Instruction: 

Face paint (attr Ali Ballantyne)

Join us this summer in the Brazilian Amazon to observe and discuss the important role of indigenous communities for sustainable Amazonian futures. Students begin the course in the city of Marabá, and then travel by private bus through the Amazon ‘arc of deforestation’ to the town of Tucumã. Along the way, students witness the processes of deforestation and urbanization that grip the Amazon and challenge the Kayapó as they work to protect their livelihoods. In Tucumã, students meet with representatives from the local Kayapó NGO, The Protected Forest Association (AFP), to discuss the partnerships, strategies, and initiatives the Kayapó use to monitor and protect their lands. From Tucumã, the group flies via air taxi to the Kayapó village of A’Ukre, located in the heart of the government protected Kayapó Indigenous Territories.

The majority of the program consists of two complementary components. The first part of the program is set in the village of A’Ukre. Here, students observe and engage in village activities such as body painting, sports, and agriculture. The second part of the program takes place at the Pinkaiti Ecological Research Station, managed by the Kayapó and AFP. Here students learn about tropical forest ecology, the history of regional mahogany logging and other human-animal-plant interactions. Throughout the course, students learn how Kayapó social and cultural practices contribute to successful community-based projects and partnerships.

Students discuss the ethics of working with indigenous groups and practice using ethnographic and other research methods with an interdisciplinary team of Kayapó, North American and Brazilian instructors.

Please note: This program qualifies for eligible Pell Grant recipients to apply for the Gilman International Scholarship (due date 3/5/19). 

You must be in good academic and judicial standing to participate in this program. The minimum GPA for this program is listed above.

UMD and Non-UMD undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate in this program.

This is an intense 3 week, 6-credit interdisciplinary field methods course and study abroad program introduces participants to indigenous peoples of Amazonia, tropical forest ecology, urbanization and development of Amazonia and ethnographic field methods. Readings and course material will draw from conservation biology, cultural anthropology, sustainability science, international development, and other academic disciplines.

The course meets general education requirements for scholarship in practice and cultural competence. 3 credits of this course can count toward the Enrichment requirement for ECEV majors.

After you commit to the program, Education Abroad will enroll you in one of the following six (6) credit UMD courses:

  • ANTH498C:  Advanced Field Training in Ethnography: Brazil: Environmental Conservation and Indigenous Peoples (6 credits). This course is approved for Cultural Competence and Scholarship in Practice in General Education credits.
  • ANTH238B or AMST269B: Topics in Study Abroad II: Lived Existence: Perspective in Native American Identity (6 credits)
  • ANTH698C: Advanced Field Training in Ethnology: Brazil: Ethnographic Fieldwork (6 credits)
  • LASC448F: Special Topics in Latin American Studies: Brazilian Ethnography (3 credits) & LASC448G Special Topics in Latin American Studies: Environmental Conservation and Indigenous Peoples (3 credits)
  • CPSP379T:  Special Topics: Science and Technology Studies-Conservation of Indigenous People

This course is also approved to fulfill a Gen Ed requirement (as outlined above).
The courses your complete during this program will count as resident credit.

In Marabá and Tucumã, participants stay in hotels.  In the Kayapó Indigenous Territories, participants camp at the edge of A’Ukre village or Pinkaiti research station. At both Pinkaiti research station and A’Ukre village, students sleep in tents or hammocks in sheltered structures designed for visitors to the community.  All meals are provided, but student should expect sleeping, showering and bathroom facilities comparable to those found in any wilderness camping experience.

Costs listed are for summer 2019.

Please note: This program qualifies for eligible Pell Grant recipients to apply for the Gilman International Scholarship (due date 3/5/19). 

Application Fee $50
Billable Costs
Billable costs are charged to your student account. They are due based on the Office of Student Financial Services and Cashiering payment schedule. Be sure to check your statements when they are available.
Education Abroad Fee $500
This fee is charged to your account when the application status changes from "Accepted" to "Committed." This fee includes Education Abroad services including registration, billing, advising, risk management, and pre-departure orientation.
International Health Insurance $43
Tuition $2,907
This fee is charged to your UMD account upon course registration. This fee includes: Tuition, in-country transportation, course related activities, group meals, and teaching services.
Housing Fee $600
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
Out-of-pocket Costs
Meals (estimate) $50
Visa $160
Passport $145
Roundtrip Airfare (estimate) $1,500
Optional Activities/incidental expenses $150
Optional trip cancelation/interruption Insurance (estimate) $180

Please refer to the following resources for more information on funding study abroad

PLEASE NOTE: All University of Maryland study abroad programs are financially self-supporting and, therefore, subject to cancelation due to low enrollment.

Matthew Aruch, Faculty Program Director, is the Assistant Director of the College Park Scholars Science, Science Technology and Society program and Ph.D. candidate in International Education Policy. Matthew has been working with groups of UMD students in Brazil since the summer of 2014. In addition to the Brazil summer program, he teaches a winter program to Ecuador and has spent more than a decade teaching, learning and working with communities throughout North, Central and South America.

Emily Colon co-directs the Kayapó study abroad program. Emily is a PhD student in UMD's Anthropology Department and Associate Director of the Center for Research and Collaboration in the Indigenous Americas. As a former participant on the program in 2014, Emily has since enjoyed working on collaborative and participatory projects with the community of A’Ukre, which includes this field course every summer.

For course, itinerary or in-country information, please contact the Program Director. For general questions or assistance with applying, contact EA Short-term Programs

As a part of this program, you will engage in the following:

  • Participation and observation of Kayapó life and culture, including discussions of ongoing partnership activities and sustainable development projects within the indigenous area.
  • Student activities will include but are not limited to hiking, fishing, gardening, fishing, beadwork, body painting, sports, and village ceremonies.
  • Through these activities, students will be able to observe and learn about human-environmental relationships from Kayapó use of plants and animals to the impact of logging and mining, and the role of Indigenous Peoples in the conservation of the Amazon.
  • Talks with Kayapó, Brazilian and North American experts in anthropology, biodiversity, forest ecology and international development. 
Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Summerterm 2022 03/15/2022 03/25/2022